World No Tobacco Day

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is sadly the effect of Tobacco consumption still felt considerably in our society! The31st of May of every year has been set apart to set the lens on issues concerning the effects of this substance on our society hence “World No Tobacco Day”.

World No Tobacco Day is a day meant to spread awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco on health, reduce the prevalence of the diseases and deaths due to the consumption of tobacco by drawing global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.

According to WHO Tobacco kills more than 8 million people globally every year. More than 7 million of these deaths are from direct tobacco use and around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Among young people, the short-term health consequences of smoking include respiratory and non-respiratory effects and addiction to nicotine, and the associated risk of another drug use. In our African society we observe that even in the school milieus the consumption of this substance is still very much glaring and trending hence leading to violence within school campuses and even bloodshed.

Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases. A review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO on 29 April 2020 found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.

COVID-19 being an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs and smoking which impairs lung functions making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases. Tobacco is also a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes which put people with these conditions at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19. Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death.

This year’s campaign slogan being Commit to Quitaims at accompanying consumers who are working towards trying to quit especially during this COVID period. The celebration is meant to informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the role of WHO in fighting the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.

Rhoda Abi

Journalist,consultant and highly-motivated communications Junky